Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John, Diagnosed at age 44 Treatment: Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radical Mastectomy, Reconstruction

Breast cancer does not discriminate—just ask mother, actress and singer Olivia Newton-John. Here, she shares her story of facing fear and winning.

Q: Did you ever think about breast cancer before your own diagnosis in 1992?

A: A dear friend of mine was diagnosed only three months before I was, and our little circle immediately said, “Oh my God! She’s got cancer!” There’s something about the word itself that’s so scary. So when I got it, I had to come to the realization—and it took awhile—that cancer isn’t necessarily a death sentence. Millions of women go through it and then lead productive, healthy lives. But at the time it felt overwhelming.

Q: So, you and your friend were facing it together.

A: Yes. She’d had surgery and was already going through chemo when I was diagnosed. Then, a few years later, a third girlfriend got it—three women from my immediate group—all in their 40s. A housewife, a flight attendant and me. Unbelievable.

Q: Did you friend’s diagnosis motivate you to conduct self-exams?

A: I’ve always had regular exams, because I’ve had a few [benign] lumps before—you know, cysts—so I went periodically to my surgeon for check-ups. [...] continue the story

A letter from Jonny Imerman

I am a testicular cancer survivor. I was born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1975. When I was just a baby, my parents divorced, and we moved to a suburb of Detroit called Bloomfield Hills. I attended Cranbrook Kingswood School from kindergarten through high school. After graduation, I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. After college, I returned to the Detroit area. I worked during the day while earning an MBA from Wayne State University at night.

Suddenly, one Thursday morning in October 2001, my busy world came to a standstill. At 26 years old, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I couldn’t believe it, so I went to another doctor for a second opinion. He confirmed that I had cancer. The testicle was the epicenter of the disease. I went right into surgery. My left testicle was removed. Although the surgery went well, my visits to the doctor did not stop there. It soon became clear that the cancer had spread (“metastasized”) from the testicle. The disease was making its way up my body. The form of testicular cancer I had was a “non-seminoma.” That means it was a mixture of many different types of cancer cells, as opposed to a “seminoma” tumor, [...] continue the story